Either the allegations are true or they are false.
Either the dejected-looking young girl in the photograph – aired in so many Umno and pro-Umno blogs – is a genuine person and Penangite, in which case she will surely be recognized (rather sooner than later) by relatives, teachers and classmates alerted to the story, or she’s just a teenager nobody here has ever come across before — i.e. identity theft and someone innocent whose photograph has been cruelly misused.
Since the two press conferences given by Lim Guan Eng yesterday and this morning, there has been so much riding on the moral high horse by the outraged Pakatan supporters. Strident, self-righteous editorials by the pro-Pakatan online media, with an equivalent coy silence in the mainstream media.
You all talk about the boy’s young age and ‘trauma’. What about the girl’s own tender years? Nobody remembers that they’re supposed to be peers.
If the allegations are proved false, the boy would have been a victim of a politically motivated smear campaign.
If the allegations are untrue, he will be vindicated soon enough and attain heroic stature.
But if the allegations are proven to have truth in them, then girl is a victim twice over.
A victim of sexual harassment as well as now having her identity publicly exposed and associated with lewd, illustrative photos as well as snide jokes and suggestive innuendos — for which the fault, blame and indefensible behaviour lies squarely at the door of the pro-Umno camp.
I can totally understand the contempt that some political operatives have for Guan Eng’s play at martyrdom — he who slammed “the pro-Umno beasts” for purportedly targeting his son with “barbaric lies”.
But who has spared a thought for the poor girl?
You all talk about clearing the boy’s name of calumny and slander. What about protecting her good name?
The bloggers should know that a minor’s identity must not be revealed — both the alleged perpetrator and the victim. The court follows this procedure. The newspapers adhere to the same convention.
If she really is nothing but a figment of the imagination, Umno will suffer an irreparable loss of credibility and the reputation of their leading bloggers shall be left in tatters. You can’t simply conjure up a 16-year-old in small island like Penang and we already know her school and her form (if she exists).
If she is a ‘genuine’ person, her parents can proceed to sue the pants off ’em bloggers should the whole alleged episode be mere fiction and her photograph abused.
And if falsehood has been spread, then in a matter of a few days, this entire affair will blow back and explode in the face of Umno as it is the party’s new media unit that raised Cain.
However if you’re dismissing the accusations out of hand, have you even paused a minute to wonder why the Umno-affiliated bloggers are taking such a great if not politically suicidal risk?
My heart goes out to her.
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UPDATE: See here for the photograph of the young girl – a public figure it seems – whose photo was misappropriated by the pro-Umno blogs. An own goal and sliding down the credibility scale.